Thursday, August 11, 2011

Raising the Deficit of Healing

Jeremiah 8:20-22
The crops are in, the summer is over, but for us nothing’s changed. We’re still waiting to be rescued. For my dear broken people, I’m heartbroken. I weep, seized by grief. Are there no healing ointments in Gilead? Isn’t there a doctor in the house? So why can’t something be done to heal and save my dear people? (MSG)

I keep wondering if this intense heat will ever lift. Today, there is a pleasant overcast with a promise of rain. I never thought I’d be relieved by an overcast. Many of us keep waiting for something to break while we sit under an overcast of dissension, political jockeying and economic uncertainty. All of the gains we made in the Dow Jones this year have been lost, our school system is closer to being consolidated but yet still divided, and people are still looking for work with threats of more layoffs. Memphis feels like Israel when Jeremiah said, “the harvest is past, the summer has ended and we are not saved. Since my people are crushed; I mourn and horror grips me.”

In the midst of all that is going wrong in our world, I’m still helpful that there is a balm in Memphis as well as the United States of America. Jeremiah asked a rhetorical question when he asked “Is there no balm in Gilead?” He knew there was a balm, that is a medicinal extract from a tree in Gilead, he just didn’t know why his people didn’t have access to it. We have the ability to create one equitable school system in Shelby County. Why are we still divided? We have the ability for every person to get healthcare. Why are we still arguing over Universal healthcare? We have the ability to bring our troops home. Why are we still fighting? We have the ability to create jobs by focusing our energies on rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Why are we sending more jobs overseas?

A house divided against itself cannot stand. The sooner we can come together for the good of the people, for the good of the children, for the good of the least of these we can see the balm or the healing we need for our city and nation. The way we see that relief get to where it’s needed the most is to put into practice what God told Jeremiah for the people of Israel in Jeremiah 7: 5 Change the way you are living and stop doing the things you are doing. Be fair in your treatment of one another.6 Stop taking advantage of aliens, orphans, and widows. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop worshiping other gods, for that will destroy you.7 If you change, I will let you go on living here in the land which I gave your ancestors as a permanent possession.

The effects of healing in our city and our land have been blocked by self interest, partisan politics, and a lack of concern for the least of these. Whether it’s an unjust shooting by police officers in London, Five million starving people in Somalia unable to get food and water, or unemployed teachers in Memphis, we must put our difference to the side and create an equitable school system, create jobs for our people, bring our troops home, and work together for liberty and justice for all. In short, we must heed what God said to us in 2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. New International Version (NIV)

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